Rauner sets leadership meeting agenda

Calls for part public, part private for Nov. 18 summit

By Mark Fitton
Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner late Friday afternoon released his proposed format for a Wednesday meeting with the four legislative leaders.

Writing to those leaders, the governor suggested the following:

  • The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the governor’s Springfield office, with a pool camera streaming video to media outlets.
  • The governor opens the meeting and explains the format.
  • The governor and the leaders then take 10 minutes each “to make his or her case to the people of Illinois — uninterrupted and unfiltered.”
  • The meeting next goes private (no camera) for negotiations.
  • When the meeting has adjourned, any or all of the participants conduct their news conferences outside the governor’s office.

Rauner said the format strikes a balance of giving the public access yet keeping the negotiating time useful.

“The people of Illinois deserve to hear our negotiating positions in a dignified and respectful manner — uninterrupted and unfiltered,” the governor wrote. “At the same time, I acknowledge the bipartisan concerns we’ve received about allowing this meeting to become political theater rather than constructive negotiation.”

Rauner he said thinks the format is reasonable and fair.

“It affords each of us the opportunity to address the people of Illinois without interruption or media filter — and it strikes a balance to ensure we maintain decorum and a constructive atmosphere for negotiations,” he wrote.

A coalition of good-government groups in October called for the meeting and offered to facilitate it to get the governor and four leaders talking again.

Illinois is now in its fifth month fifth of fiscal year 2016 with no budget as the first-term Republican governor and legislative Democrats — who have supermajority numbers in each chamber of the General Assembly — continue to disagree on the state’s finances and Rauner’s agenda.

All of the leaders have indicated they planned to attend a Nov. 18 meeting.

However, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, did call for an open or public meeting. The speaker also said he wanted to see an agenda before he’d commit after Rauner wrote to the civic groups saying the governor’s office would organize and host the meeting.

Attempts to reach Madigan’s spokesman Friday evening were not successful.

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